Modern Turkish is a language spoken in Turkey and is related to Turkic languages. Learning Turkish would enable access to:
a) Turkey, a country that occupies a vital and unique strategic position between Europe and Asia. Turkey has tremendous economic, cultural, and geopolitical significance for Europe, the Middle East, the Caucasus, and central Asia; what happens in Turkey has consequences worldwide. As a liberal democracy with one of the world’s fastest growing economies and a majority Muslim population, Turkey defies preconceived notions about Muslim societies, Islam, and the Middle East.
b) Turkic language speaking societies and communities spanning a vast geographic area from eastern Europe to central and north Asia. States in which Turkic languages are spoken include Russia, Azerbaijan, northern Cyprus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, China, Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Greece, Romania, Lithuania. The total number of Turkic language speakers is estimated to be at least 200 million.
c) several western European countries (especially Germany, the Netherlands, and Belgium) where large numbers of Turkish-origin populations live.
There are many funding opportunities for students who are interested in learning Turkish and for conducting research on Turkey. The U.S. Department of State identifies Turkish as a Critical Language and provides awards, scholarships, and fellowships that prioritize intensive study of Turkish language for undergraduate students and graduate students. Funding opportunities for Turkish include summer and academic year Foreign Language Area Studies (FLAS) fellowships and the American Research Institute in Turkey awards. The Institute of Turkish Studies also has a grants program mostly for graduate students and post-doctoral scholars.